Rooney's a top captain who brings me pride – Van Gaal

The manager installed the striker as Man Utd captain after trialling a number of players with the armband during pre-season, praising his work on and off the field


Louis van Gaal has praised Wayne Rooney’s work as Manchester United captain this season, saying he is proud of the striker.

Rooney was announced as skipper following the Dutchman’s appointment as manager last summer after a number of players were trialled wearing the armband during pre-season.

Van Gaal hailed Rooney’s work rate behind the scenes and his versatility on the pitch after making more appearances in a deeper midfield role rather than as a focal attacking point.

“Wayne is a very good captain. I am very proud. I haven’t had any disappointments this year with him,” he told reporters.

“He is very good in the dressing room. He is always an example of the training pitch and when we play in matches, he always fights until the end.

“Wayne has also played a lot of positions for me without ever complaining. I like multi-functional players and the team needs more players like him.

“I think that I made a very good decision with Wayne because have fought right until the end in all of our matches. The team spirit has been great.”

United end their season on Sunday with a trip to a Hull City side in desperate need for a win to have any chance of avoiding relegation and Van Gaal insists he is in no mood to hand out favours.

He added: “It is very sad when something bad happens because you don’t want to happen to another manager and I know what Steve Bruce means here.

“But we need to be ruthless. We have to respect the other clubs of the Premier League. We shall do out utmost best, but our away record is not so good.”

'Van Gaal snubbed Real Madrid to join Barcelona'

Gerard van der Lem persuaded his former boss to turn down a potential move to the Spanish capital because of the “more pleasant climate” in Catalunya

A former assistant of Louis Van Gaal claims that the Dutch coach snubbed Real Madrid in order to take the Barcelona job.

The current Manchester United boss moved to Camp Nou in 1997, a year after leading a young Ajax side the Champions League title.

However, Gerard van der Lem, who had been Van Gaal’s right-hand man during his time in Amsterdam, has revealed that his former boss could have easily ended up at the Santiago Bernabeu instead.

“Real Madrid and Barcelona both wanted Van Gaal in 1997,” he told De Telegraaf

“He asked me: ‘What do you want?’ I said that I preferred Barcelona… Madrid is right in the middle of Spain and is always incredibly hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. 

“Barcelona has a more pleasant climate, seemed like a nicer city and I enjoy the sea. 

“Louis then told me that he would open talks with Barcelona.”

Van Gaal succeeded Bobby Robson as Barcelona boss, with the Catalans deciding to return to their Dutch roots in an attempt to rekindle the glory days of Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’.

The 63-year-old claimed two league titles during his first three-year stay in Spain before returning for an ill-fated second spell in 2002, after two years with the Dutch national team.

Casillas: Real Madrid should sign David De Gea

The under-fire club captain insist the European champions should move for the 24-year-old, even though it could signal the end for him

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has welcomed the club’s interest in David De Gea, insisting that the Santiago Bernabeu side should sign the Manchester United star.

Casillas has suffered heavy criticism in recent seasons following a number high-profile mistakes and there is mounting speculation that the Liga outfit are ready to axe their captain this summer.

But despite suggestions that De Gea’s potential arrival could signal the end of his spell in the Spanish capital, Casillas still feels that Madrid should move for the 24-year-old shot-stopper, who has thus far refused to sign a new contract at United.

Indeed, when asked by reporters if he would like to see De Gea arrive from Old Trafford, the Blancos skipper stated: “Of course I would.”

However, when asked if he would be at the Bernabeu himself next season, a defiant Casillas added: “Yes, I will be [at Real Madrid next season].”

This week, Manchester United coach Louis Van Gaal denied suggestions De Gea was set to return to Spain. However, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is reported to have lost patience with Casillas, who endured a torrid time for his country during last year’s World Cup, making two major errors in his side’s 5-1 loss to Netherlands in the group stage in Brazil.

Casillas was dropped by former Madrid coach Jose Mourinho in 2013 but won back his place in the starting line-up under Carlo Ancelotti this season.

Casillas, who joined the club’s academy 25 years ago, has claimed three Champions League titles and five Liga crowns since making his professional debut in 1999.

Hull City v Manchester United Preview: Bruce accepts survival is tall order

The Tigers boss has never beaten his former team as a manager but must take all three points if his side have any chance of avoiding relegation to the Championship


Hull City manager Steve Bruce accepts it is going to be a tall order for his side to engineer a final-day escape from Premier League relegation when they take on Manchester United . 

Bruce’s men welcome Louis van Gaal’s side to the KC Stadium on Sunday knowing they will be relegated to the Championship with anything less than a win.

Even if Hull do secure all three points they will still suffer the ignominy of the drop should Newcastle United beat West Ham at St James’ Park, although they will be safe with a victory if John Carver’s team fail to achieve the same result.

The situation is strikingly similar to that of six years ago when Hull survived following a 1-0 loss to United as Newcastle slipped to a defeat by the same scoreline versus another team in claret and blue – Aston Villa.

Bruce has a dreadful record against his former club, having lost 17 and drawn four of the 21 games in which he has faced them as a manager.

“It’s always difficult [against United] but we know we’re capable if we play to the best of our ability, as we’ve seen when we beat Liverpool a couple of weeks ago,” he told reporters.

“It’s been a long, difficult season for us. I hope, a bit like when we got a result against Cardiff to get in the Premier League – it reminds me a lot of that – hopefully our moment is about to come. It’s going to be a tall order but we know we’ve got a chance.”

Asked about the prospect of relegating Newcastle, who he supported growing up, Bruce added: “All I’m interested in is the club that employ me at the minute.

“We didn’t expect to be in this position but we are. Let’s hope we’ve got one final twist can go our way.”

Hull have no new injury concerns to worry about, with midfielder Jake Livermore still suspended after failing a drugs test.

It remains to be seen whether David de Gea will feature for United after the goalkeeper picked up a hip injury against Arsenal. Jonny Evans is a doubt with a knock, but Wayne Rooney is fit to return from a leg injury.

Fourth-placed United need a substantial and improbable swing in goal difference to steal third place from Arsenal. But, although that appears extremely unlikely, defender Chris Smalling is keen to end the season on the right note.

“We don’t have a great deal to play for but, as the manager has said before, we always play for that pride,” Smalling told MUTV .

“Hull obviously have to win the game and that will make for an entertaining match, where they won’t be able to defend like a lot of teams do – they’ll have to come out at us.

“I think that will make it a much more open game and a more enjoyable one for us.”

Van Gaal: Man United won't do Bruce any favours

The former Red Devils defender needs a win for his side against United on Sunday if they are to have a chance of staying up, but the Dutchman promises a fair fight


Louis van Gaal has reassured Newcastle that former Manchester United defender and Hull City boss Steve Bruce will not get any favours on Sunday to boost their chances of Premier League survival.

The Dutchman takes his side to the KC Stadium on with Hull needing a victory to give them any hope of staying up, with the Magpies their rivals to avoid the drop.

With United assured of a top-four place going into the final game, some suggested that they could take it easy against club favourite Bruce, who made 414 appearances for the Red Devils, but Van Gaal insists that they will be going all out to get the victory.

“I have said to the players, in spite of Bruce being a Manchester United guy, we have to do what everybody is expecting from us,” he told the media.

“It’s the same approach as ever. We need to defend our image as Manchester United and we are finishing in fourth position so we have to give our utmost best.

“We haven’t won so many matches away, so it’s very difficult to beat Premier League clubs away. We shall do our utmost best. We have to do it for the honesty of the league.

“I have to put my strongest team out because we have to give everything for all the other Premier League clubs and especially, of course, Newcastle.

“We have taken six points off Newcastle and we have to take six points off Hull City, I think.”